Thursday, July 19, 2018

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Stinky Urine

In people, some foods, such as asparagus, can make urine smell quite weird.

I don't expect your dog eating a plate of asparagus for dinner?


I am even not sure it would make their urine smell bad because Jasmine did get some asparagus in her meals and I don't recall any noticeable changes in the smell of her pee. It might have changed, but as much as I monitor what comes out of my dogs closely, being outside and ones nose not getting THAT close, asparagus pee is something that likely would go unnoticed.

Which brings me to the point that with the distance of your nose from your dog's pee and the way the smell would dissipate in the outdoor environment, I imagine that in most cases the urine has to smell pretty bad before you'd notice unless your dog is also having potty accidents at home.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Stinky Urine

Is it actually pee you're smelling?


Can you be sure the smell is definitely coming from the urinary tract? Other things can be mistaken for smelly urine including pyometra, vaginitis and skin infections around the vulva or prepuce.

Concentrated urine can have a strong odor.


The more concentrated the urine, the stronger it will smell of ammonia.  If low hydration or high concentration of the urine were the reason, the color would also be a very strong shade of yellow.

Dehydration is not a good thing, though, and if my dog had such concentrated urine more than once, say after a long trip or walk, I'd want to take measures to keep the hydrated better.

Sweet smelling urine?


Roses are supposed to smell sweet; urine is not. If your dog's urine smells sweet, you are indeed actually smelling sugar. Glucose, to be more accurate. As you can imagine, sugar might belong into your baking recipe but not in your dog's urine. If this happens, there is too much glucose in your dog's blood and it spills into pee, and you're likely looking at diabetes. A simple urine test will help determine whether this might be the case.

Further, dogs with diabetes are prone to infections, and the combination of high sugar and a UTI is quite possible. That is double the reason to have your dog's urine tested asap.

Medications?


I am not aware of any medications that would make any profound changes to dog's urine though I imagine there might be some. I am, however, aware of a case where a dog's horribly smelling urine was attributed to a chemo treatment while it was indeed a severe bladder infection instead. Given the circumstances, assuming the terrible smell was from the meds made sense but I strongly believe that assumptions are your worst enemy. Never assume anything. Verify, confirm.

Urinary tract infections (UTI)


All this brings us to the most common cause behind bad-smelling urine, and that are urinary tract infections. That is the number one cause of stinky pee. And no, a UTI is not a light matter and not just because of the discomfort it brings.

Other causes


Other potential causes of smelly urine include crystalluria/uroliths (although the smell is probably just concentrated urine) and possibly neoplasia of the urinary tract, for example, a tumor growing in the bladder. Prostate disease in male dogs may also affect the smell of the urine.

Urinalysis is a non-invasive, affordable, quick test. If your dog's urine looks or smells weird, get it done.


Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?


Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.


Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

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19 comments

  1. Interesting and informative as always. My dog had trouble concentrating her urine and had a couple of UTIs, but I never noticed any odd smell. Perhaps, as you say the distance, especially if you're outside may make it hard to detect.

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    1. The less concentrated the urine the less smell there would be no matter what, including UTIs. Why is your dog having trouble concentrating urine?

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    2. I can tell you, though, that if the urine is stinky from a health problem, it can be pretty hard to miss regardless of the distance.

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  2. Thank you for my lesson today. I love your blogs as you always share something that I might not have thought of, and today was one of them

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  3. Sometimes we do not realize but dogs do get UTIs and the pyometra is also an issue if females dogs have not been spayed when young. Thanks for making awareness of this.

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    1. Thank you, Adriana; it's important not to forget such things.

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  4. Our cats won't touch asparagus and yes we are growing some at home in a special bed (it takes at leat four years to do anything much so we are in this for the long haul ;-) ) I can see how important it would be and the fact there is a simple test that can be done is really good news.

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    1. Cookie will any vegetable as long as it stinks like meat enough = cooked with some.

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  5. I've never noticed any odd smells but it would be something I would ask the vet about if it happened. I usually have an urinalysis run on him about once a year.

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  6. I do keep an eye on how often they are peeing, but can't say I have ever noticed the smell, but it is something to think about and be more aware of. An informative post, once again, I have learnt something

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    1. Normally, urine smell won't strike your nose unless it's an indoor accident. When there is something wrong and the urine does get stinky, it is quite hard to miss in my experience.

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  7. I don't usually smell the girls' urine, but Truffle's has been more concentrated lately since her bladder infection and I did notice a stronger smell. We're hopeful her urinalysis will finally bring good results this week after being on a strong antibiotic for 3 weeks.

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    1. If there is bladder infection and the urine is more concentrated, I'd encourage more hydration. "Flushing" the bladder is one of the best ways of preventing or helping treat infections.

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  8. I've never noticed a bad smell in my dogs urine, but they potty in the yard a lot, and then on walks so it's difficult to smell. Something to look out for though, thanks for sharing.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  9. Wow. This is interesting that some of the same red flags in humans occurs in dogs too. (ie: odd odor /concentrated urine color) What I found most interesting is that the sweeter the smell it could be a sign of high glucose/diabetes. Thanks for sharing this insightful post.

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  10. The only time I had a dog with a UTI was my paralyzed dog and I saw blood in her pee when she went on the snow, otherwise I never would have known. With dogs going outside, as they should, it would be hard to tell if it smells bad. Buffy has eaten a bit of asparagus, but only a bit.

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  11. With the heat we’ve got going on, there’s definitely some stinky pee due to not being as hydrated as they should. I placed some water buckets outside to help with that!

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